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The SED of Low-Luminosity AGNs at high-spatial resolution

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By Samuel George 3393 days ago
The inner structure of AGNs is expected to change below a certain luminosity limit. The big blue bump, footprint of the accretion disk, is absent for the majority of low-luminosity AGNs (LLAGNs). Moreover, recent simulations suggest that the torus, a keystone in the Unified Model, vanishes for nuclei with L_bol < 10^42 erg/s. However, the study of LLAGN is a complex task due to the contribution of the host galaxy, which light swamps these faint nuclei. This is specially critical in the IR range, at the maximum of the torus emission, due to the contribution of the old stellar population and/or dust in the nuclear region. Adaptive optics imaging in the NIR (VLT/NaCo) together with diffraction limited imaging in the mid-IR (VLT/VISIR) permit us to isolate the nuclear emission for some of the nearest LLAGNs in the Southern Hemisphere. These data were extended to the optical/UV range (HST), radio (VLA, VLBI) and X-rays (Chandra, XMM-Newton, Integral), in order to build a genuine spectral energy distribution (SED) for each AGN with a consistent spatial resolution (< 0.5") across the whole spectral range. From the individual SEDs, we construct an average SED for LLAGNs sampled in all the wavebands mentioned before. Compared with previous multiwavelength studies of LLAGNs, this work covers the mid-IR and NIR ranges with high-spatial resolution data. The LLAGNs in the sample present a large diversity in terms of SED shapes. Some of them are very well described by a self-absorbed synchrotron (e.g. NGC 1052), while some other present a thermal-like bump at ~1 micron (NGC 4594). All of them are significantly different when compared with bright Seyferts and quasars, suggesting that the inner structure of AGNs (i.e. the torus and the accretion disk) suffers intrinsic changes at low luminosities.